Academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and cheating are hardly new. And as the history of the banking industry and baseball demonstrate, cheating scandals aren't just limited to schools. With numerous incidents making headlines in recent months, however, questions are being raised about the validity and the pressures of standardized testing, as well as the security of testing practices. And some are asking if it's time to scrutinize the underlying behaviors and motivation for all this cheating.
Is the pressure to score high -- not just on standardized tests, but in all facets of school life -- leading to a rampant culture of academic dishonesty? Or is it simply that technology is making it easier to cheat?
Some studies indicate that cheating is at an all time high -- or at least, students' willingness to admit they've cheated. Some 75% of college students admit that they've cheated at one point or another during their academic careers. That's up from 20% of students back in the 1940s.
According to these studies, the types of students who are cheating has changed, too. It isn't necessarily the student who's struggling to do well in class who's cheating; it's top-performing students who are feeling the pressure to perform better. A recent article in Psychology Today cites one student saying, "I was in honors classes in high school because I wanted to get into the best schools, and all of us in those classes cheated; we needed the grades to get into the best schools."